Not everything European is the EU

Published: 5th Nov 2015


Three Conservative MPs have been "axed by the Prime Minister", according to the Telegraph, which sounds rather painful.

The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, the body from which the "serial rebels" have reportedly been removed, will also have been pained by the story originally describing it as an "EU body".

It's not. The easiest way of proving and understanding the difference between the Council of Europe and the European Union, two separate organisations, is by looking at their respective memberships.

47 countries are members of the Council of Europe, whereas there are 28 in the EU.

The Council of Europe is mainly concerned with promoting human rights, most notably through the European Convention on Human Rights and the court that decides cases taken under it. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elects judges to that court. The three MPs at the focus of the Telegraph's story used to represent the UK in the Parliamentary Assembly, but no longer do.

It's entirely understandable that there's confusion: within the EU, there are institutions called the European Council and Council of the European Union. It's a hard-pressed subeditor's nightmare—but the Telegraph has now corrected its headline.


Full Fact and international partners win Google AI Impact Challenge

We aim for our factchecks to be as accurate and up-to-date as possible. If you think we've made an error or missed some relevant information, please email